Words and Photos by: Andrew Smith
Wednesday night should have been an omen of what was about to come. As I struggled to sleep, the storm rolled in. Instead of laying in bed I decided to sit on the couch and quietly listen to the rain fall. The forecast had been steady all week; rain all day Saturday. The most important day of the weekend, the day of the shows themselves.
For the last 3 years I had not even gone to the original Automotion classic car show. I had spent it at either the BOTI (Battle of the Imports) or the WCEC (Wisconsin Car Enthusiast Club) car shows that had recently popped up. While I have always been a fan of classic cars and V8’s, my desire had always been with the import scene. Over the last year however, my desire to branch out and try something else had grown tremendously. This past January I took a new job that allowed me to step into a new vehicle. I wanted something V8, and even tossed around the idea of getting something that could tow my DSM. After years of considering them, I decided to pull the trigger on a Trailbazer SS. I was excited to head back to the classic car show for the first time in years. As the storm kept rumbling on, my eyes finally began to fall and I decided to head to bed. Grabbing one last photo of the rain outside, I managed to snap an iPhone photo right as lighting struck.
The next day went as slow as you could expect while waiting to head out for one of your favorite weekends. As the workday drew to an end, I left work a few hours early. Knowing that there was rain expected Saturday, I decided that it was still worth it to wash the truck. I ran to a car wash by work and decided to snap a few photos of the truck before starting the trek up to the Dells.
The trek up to the cabin was uneventful. Although a few drops of rain did fall, the weather was largely stable. I got up to the cabin and started unpacking. This is the first year that I stayed in this particular cabin, and I must say that it was one of my favorites.
Within a few minutes a number of cars rolled in and the weekend was officially underway. I grabbed my camera and began what I thought was going to be a packed weekend of photographs.
Brandon got the drone out to get some footage for his Automotion video.
At this point I put down the camera for a while and hung out. As night approached, we headed out to meet up with Stephen and Krisandra at Monk’s, and then over to spend a little time with Alex Martinez. For those of you who dont recognize that name, he is the founder of WCEC, the largest car group in the Midwest. CLICK HERE to read our interview with Alex from 2015 shortly after we launched the website! However, it didnt take long for the cops to have enough of the TBSS and on the way to Monk’s we got a chance to share some love with the local 5-0.
A quick warning and we were on our way. The rest of the night consisted of some great laughs, interesting conversations, and eye opening revelations. We headed back to the cabin and went to bed about 3am or so.
The next morning started off fantastic. While it wasnt especially beautiful out, the rain was holding off and we were able to get a few shoots in. While Stephan and myself had planned to shoot a few cars Friday, the threat of rain turned us off from wasting peoples time. So we decided instead to shoot my buddy Andy’s 240sx and Stephen and Krisandra’s Evo. I snapped a few photos around the cul-de-sac while they quickly washed their cars and we headed out.
Brandon getting in the way. He just loves being in front of the camera. Brandon found us an awesome spot down by a boat launch. So we arrived and immediately got to work. I started shooting Andy’s 240sx as Brandon got some video work done.
Nothing like a good old SAFC! For those of you youngin’s who don’t know what I am talking about, go check it out. It helped to tune many a car before standalone’s were as popular as they are today.
Stephen setting up to test out this new slider.
Brandon doing the walk with the Ronin.
It’s the details that really set apart some videos from others. Brandon setting up the Zoom to record audio of the true JDM NSX owned by our friend RB. I hope to get an article and shoot of the car done this summer.
In addition to RB’s NSX, our buddy Zach came along with his bagged BRZ. This thing gets attention everywhere it goes.
After shooting Andy’s 240, I positioned the Evo and got to shooting. But first I had to peel Krisandra away from cleaning it.
My camera bag ended up in the corner of the shot.
The single coolest part of the car. These end plates were a huge point of contention for people. While few didnt really have an opinion, most either loved or hated them. No matter what side you are on, you have to admit that they certainly are unique.
The “OG” Midwest Automotive sticker. Love it or hate it, the chassis mount wing certainly draws a lot of attention.
All show, no go.
I love the simple 3 AEM gauge setup.
After we finished shooting, we headed back to the cabin to relax for the night. Before we started the fire I took a quick ride in the SN95 Cobra.
Jay Leno was in town. The line to get into the parking lot was crazy long.
As the fire raged on and 90’s-2000’s hip hop blasted through the cul-de-sac, people started slowly filtering to bed. Having had a few to many cocktails, I had Dan grab the keys to the TBSS and we headed to the strip for a little while. With the exception of Andy killing the battery on the truck by blasting some random dance music while parked along the strip, it was quite the uneventful evening to the strip. Another 3am trip to bed and we all worried about the ensuing weather Saturday.
As Saturday morning came, we were greeted with our worst nightmare, pure rain. It wasn’t a steady rain, it was more of a constant mist that just would not end. So instead of trekking out into the cold, we decided to hang out at the cabin and watch some Motor Trend stuff. While this was by far the biggest disappointment, it was still fun hanging out with the guys watching car videos.
As lunch began to roll around, we decided to head down to Moosejaw for some food. Even with the rain, the strip was jam packed and at a dead stop as usual.
After lunch, we headed back to the cabin and relaxed around the cabin the rest of the day. Later that night we headed to the strip for a while in the rain. It wasnt long and we headed back to the cabin to get some sleep after what ended up being a disappointing day. Sunday morning arrived and we headed back home in some decent weather. A quick stop at Mac’s for some serious sweet Mac & Cheese and it was time to head home.
Last year was the best Automotion I had been to. I was planning on making this year even better. I was going to shoot as much as possible and cover multiple events. As this weekend drew nearer I was concerned about the rain, and my worst fears came true. While the weekend didn’t go to plan, I still had a great time hanging out with friends. A quick 2 week turnaround time and it is off to Gridlife which has the potential to be the best automotive weekend to date. Keep you eyes peeled, because that should be an awesome article.